Very few people actually turn out to be what they thought they'd be when the grew up. My father never ended up being a lion-tamer, for instance. But he never forgot proclaiming that on the first day of forth grade. Life is funny that way.
As the world unfolds before us when we're young, all manner of wonder falls on a scale that runs from about “Totally Rad!” to “Eww, no, blech”. We pick up hobbies, we love them or drop them. We learn skills, some for just a moment, others for good. All along the way, even as the tides change, we have a pretty good idea where our heading will lead.
Which is why it strikes me as odd, that two days before my 36th birthday I find myself in the middle of a brand new love affair. Much like perhaps an 8 year old, I have found myself, for the first time, enamored by science. Rocks, minerals, storms, clouds, yeah, you name it. If Bill Nye has studied it, I suddenly find it fascinating. Maybe it's a certain maturity, maybe it's random, hell, maybe it's chemistry. I don't know why, but a new part of my mind has awakened, and I'm loving it.
The blessing of this scientific discovery is that I'm in my second semester back in college. Again, my time-line is a little off compared to most of society, but I've made a choice to learn everyday, there's really no reason not to. So even a few years too “late”, perhaps I'm finally coming out of my cocoon like a butterfly that's been incubating a bit longer than most. I'm sure there's a name for that, and I look forward to studying it soon.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I thought you'd find it interesting. Also, because my first, AMAZING, UNHEARD OF, LIFE ALTERING SCIENCE EXPERIEMENT?
Winning the final season of LJ Idol. I've worked out just the formula to do just that, and if you're a willing participant in the experiment, well, let's just say you're in for one hell of a chemical reaction.
In ten years time, we'll look back on this time together in Idol and laugh about how simple it all was. We'll also laugh at how I ended up being a lion-tamer.
It's a shame the way I went and died today. How often do you hear of a 35 year old dying of, well, I guess you could say, “not living”. I want to forgive myself, I mean, had I realized that by sitting in the background, watching the world's other actors play their scenes out in front of me...if I knew that I'd simply...fade away? I'm sure I would have done something. I suppose. But I had to know I hadn't been doing anything up to that point, right?
“Do something Brian,” I'm certain I could have, or would have, said. When the only thing you see in the mirror is a graveyard stare, well, that should really show you something. It's hard to see the truth, when the eyes looking back at you are blind.
I have to take a tiny bit of validation in learning that there is no heaven or hell. I'm still uncertain who or what runs this world, but you either have two choices. If you've lived a satisfied life, you're welcome to vanish into the vapor. If you're a lost soul like myself, however, there is some form of penance to pay. The limbo that I find myself in is not much different than wandering from day to day, just doing enough to call yourself a mortal. You breathe, maybe today you eat, you say just the right thing when someone asks, “how are you?”, to make them cease their investigation.
I guess my afterlife is simply the same as my natural life: an avoidance of living.
We only get one chance to live this life, in reality. When fear is your taxi driver, you end up in Faceless Town, left with debt that no honest man could pay. The skies there are always a sorrowful-gray, as they refuse the entrance to shining stars into your eyes. The children mourn the death of dreaming, as they color their chalk drawings on the sidewalk in ash. This is Given Up Street, and it seems as though I was a resident.
While the morose clouds built up around me, I shared a tiny bit of solace each day when the red bird came. So vibrant, so life-like, the red bird appeared at my back porch around the same time to feed on the few seeds left to be fed upon. She was the last vestige of the real world. The only bit of color left in a town that carried on like a funeral. What a beautiful sight, especially brilliant against a backdrop of black. I took a little bit of hope from that bird, every time it came to visit. I stored all of that hope in a jar, and though I never really had a plan for it, I wonder now if I could have traded it all in for a life one day?
Not that it mattered, as eventually the beautiful red bird too fell victim of the Faceless Town. Just another bit of life wiped away by the gloom.
My atonement, at once, is handed down. The charge for my failed life is suddenly clear to me.
I must live, again.
You can't really die, if you weren't really living. I've made plenty of mistakes in my time, but I really couldn't have expected to get away with bungling that one up. I have to live, I have to breathe, I have to take what this world gives, and I have to give back to it what I have to offer. That's it! That's the truth to the matter.
Your life cannot possibly end something that didn't ride the promise from the start. I am a decent man, I'm a compassionate person. I am kind to strangers, and an incredible lover. I create emotions with my words, and at times I offer them up for applause. I have never forgotten Mother's Day, and I always take the trash out. Goddammit I AM NOT GIVING UP!
I am a human being.
A real life person.
And I deserve to live.
And so, I will.
I want to see, that red bird fly.
Right eye socket. Whacked. Left-side nose outlet. Cracked. Billy? Broken and beaten. The question remains though: is it better to be beaten up for who you are, or who you are not? Those rum-drunk thugs certainly got the impression that I was, what did they say again? Oh yeah, an ass pirate. I think they meant gay. Nothing wrong with either really, but definitely not worthy of beating me into a pulp. That's a funny word. Pulp. More like a pulp-let, maybe.
Nothing but a bunch of savages, California.
I don't enjoy confirming my lack of conformity. I could be gay if I wanted. If I wanted the dick, I mean. I could be Japanese too, don't tell me that I couldn't! Or the Messiah even. I just don't like work, that's all. That's a lot of souls and one big ol' messed up world to save. No time for that. But don't beat me up. Right?
I don't think we should technically have to wear a right foot and a left food sandal either, while I'm ranting. There's no proof that Jesus wore appropriate sandals, for instance. Or was there? Maybe that's why it's a rule. Sure, my right foot is kind of sore, but I'm not actually falling over any more than I usually do. I think it's quite stylish in a non-stylish kind of way. But I'm just confirming again. Stop that Billy.
Where am I, anyway? Where are any of us? Well, I guess we'll stick to me since I'm the one lost in the woods. That fair? Good, I like to be fair. Been walking for who knows how long. My poor eyes are pretty swollen, so I'm likely even more off course than usual, which is saying something. The pine tree's needles laugh at me as they snap me in the face with their wicked branches. Bastards.
There's something going on over there I think. I realize of course you can't see where I'm motioning with my hand. But it's over there. Some kind of party. Or brothel. Or camping activity gone awry. Lots of laughing and there is definitely fire involved. Oh, Gobs, not another cult, I don't think I could bear another fire eating, loin cloth wearing cult. Those are so played out these days.
Just as I suspected. Some kind of porn party. There are hula hoops EVERYWHERE. Bizarre. This is some really kinky shit.
Why is that pretty girl falling to the ground so dramatically? No, I know you can't see her. I can't either really, but you're just going to have to trust me. First person I've seen since those ruffians beat me, so she's the prettiest girl I've ever seen.
I should engage her I suppose. But what to say? No, not engage her that way. This is hardly the setting for that kind of spontaneity.
I could go with:
“I may be bloody and beaten, my eyes swollen beyond reason, but you're a beauty if I ever saw one.”
That's laying it on a little thick.
“Have you seen my walrus?”
Might be good, but she'll be lost without the context.
I suppose I could just be whoever I am, and do whatever I do. Or something. I don't even think she's knows I'm here. Oh Gob, I'm a creeper. Creeping.
Ok Billy, say something quick. Do something. Anything other than walking up like a reject from zombie flick, letting words fall randomly from my mouth.
Ooh! Fig berries. I know. I'll chew on these and act like I'm out on a stroll.
Yeah, just a stroll. Nothing wrong with that. Or is there?
Oh Gobs, she's seen me. Here we go. Act normal. Don't mention the walrus. Or the beating. Or the sandals.
“What's the word?”
Ugh. Did I just say that?
The preceding (right up there. You didn’t read it? What are you doing here, Go back up. Then come back here.) is one half of an amazing LJ Idol intersection with the lovely and fascinating kandigurl. You can find her side of the story right here over here where you’d find it if you were looking. Then, remember to vote, or cast stones, or do whatever it is we’re meant to do this week.
Between the head-banging, strobe lighting, and angst-filled lyrics, American Idiot might be better suited in an arena rock setting, than the musical theater. But punk rockers are wont to rock where punk rockers choose, especially if the setting is less than appropriate. That's not to say that the Green Day rock opera, playing this weekend at the Straz Center, isn't a great show, because it truly is. Just be prepared to have your face kicked in a (theatrically) punk rock way.
A kinetic, frenzied affair, American Idiot, based on Green Day's multi-platinum fist-pumper of an album, leaves both its performers and audience grasping for air. Rage has a way of pushing everyone to the edge, it seems. The story, expanded from the concept album, focuses on the lives of three discontent young men, each with enough indignation to power the set's multiple video monitors, with some to spare. Johnny (Brandon Kalm), Will (Casey O'Farrell), and Tunny (Thomas Hettrick) are all looking for a way out. Out of their hopeless suburban town, out of the rules that shackle and bind them, and out of the eye of the authority that hovers like a hand grenade. With a handful of bus tickets, the boys think they find their way out, just as Will is chained tighter to settle in suburbia by a girlfriend with a baby bump. Johnny and Tunny run off to the city together, but are quickly separated and swallowed up by drugs and an American war respectively.
Though the focus is most certainly masculine, it's really the ladies of American Idiot (including Clearwater's own, Jenna Rubaii), who steal the show, stomping their boots and belting their lyrics out as they do it. It's really “Whatshername” (Alyssa DiPalma) who ironically demands that the audience remember her, with a performance that is sure to haunt both Johnny, and the exasperated crowd for sometime.
And they all rage on.
American Idiot borrows much of the behind the scenes creative team (including director Michael Mayer and scenic designer Christine Jones) from the equally audacious, Spring Awakening, and it shows. The stark set remains static for much of the show, save for a couch, industrial stairs and a bed or two, swinging in or out as needed. The amalgamation of bombastic music and bold characters make up the rest, and though the mostly sung-through show is light on dialogue, the trio of tales are all easy to follow.
American Idiot is a one act, fury of a show that will leave you wondering how the amazing cast pulls off the singing, screaming, kicking, and endless dancing. As the characters challenge any and all authority, the show itself challenges it's performers and audience in a break-neck, balls to the wall, middle finger-flipped fracas. And the breathlessness couldn't be more worth it. Fans of Green Day, of pop-like punk rock, or anyone who thinks their bosses don't give them any respect are bound to love American Idiot. But as mentioned, a typical musical theater crowd might leave a little shell-shocked.
May 17-19, Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 and 8 p.m., Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, $20-$79
(Copied with permission from Creative Loafing Tampa)
RuPaul's Drag Race has turned American on to plenty of fishy and glamorous drag queens during it's five seasons, but none have stolen more hearts than campy theater queen, Jinkx Monsoon. Jinkx (performed by Jerick Hoffer) went from this year's underdog, all the way to winner, crowned by RuPaul herself. We had the chance to catch up with her as she prepares to bring her act to Tampa this weekend:
“America's Next Drag Superstar”, Jinkx Monsoon has an incredible ring to it, doesn't it? Congratulations on winning Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race! Has it set in yet, really?
This week I was able to celebrate at my home bar Julia's on Broadway in Seattle with all my friends and family! It is finally sinking in now that I've gotten the chance to really celebrate with those who were close to me throughout this entire experience. I'm finally ready to take on the whole wide world.
There has been a lot of catty, sometimes hate-filled discourse between drag fans, usually on the internet. You've really come out and risen above it all. What is it like to be a role model now, and did you foresee yourself becoming one before this whole incredible ride began? I never set out to become such a role model, but now that I have this opportunity I really enjoy spreading my message of positive thinking and positive energy. My Mantras and personal statements were more my personal inspiration to keep myself energized throughout the competition and less my aspirations to become a role model to the youth but now that I've been given that opportunity I definitely want to use this exposure as a platform for social change!
And along those lines, how can Jinkx Monsoon impact the drag community, and even the LBGT community as a whole, during your reign? I think Jinkx Monsoon stands up for all of us who challenge the American standards of gender beauty and self-identity. I think she is a role model in the fact that she marches to the beat of her own drum and does things her own way in spite of the way that everyone else would like her to do things. I plan on speaking out on equal rights issues and the gay rights movement and progressing our social consciousness forward to make this world a more accepting and inhabitable place for all of the different people who live here. Jinkx Monsoon the character definitely isn't a paragon of social etiquette, but Jerick Hoffer the performer wants to use this as an opportunity to spread a positive message.
You had quite a bit of opening up, on the show about your relationship with your mother and your upbringing. I had a lot of mixed emotions about opening up about my family, but ultimately I decided to share certain parts of my story because they are huge turning point and what made me the kind of drag queen artist and human being I am today. I think that you can learn just as much from the tragic moments in your life, if not more, as you can from the successful moments in your life. My mother and I have resolved these issues years ago, but due to the episodes airing we've been able to reflect and really grow from this experience as a family. Drag race more or less brought my family back together in a time when we were kind of disparate and my personal recent success has motivated my brothers to really go for their life dreams and I fully support them and all the things that they do to accomplish their goals in life. When people ask me if I set out to be a role model to the youth of America, I respond that I just set out to be a role model to my younger brothers and if other people can take positive messages from that, I'm happy to provide.
My absolute favorite Jinkx episode was when you gave American veteran, Dave, a makeover on the soldier challenge. Girl! You made us all tear up. What did you get from that challenge? It was really easy to be compassionate and caring with Dave because Dave is a compassionate caring person himself. I learned so much from him about the history of the gay rights movement. I learned a lot from him about what veterans actually went through before they were able to be out in the military. Dave has risen above so much adversity in his life and he really lit a fire under me to rise above all my challenges and Drag Race. He believed in me every moment of our time together and it fueled me to keep my head in the game. I have stayed in touch with him since the filming of Drag Race and I feel lucky that I got to take home the crown not just for me, but for Dave and for all the people like Dave who lay down the brickwork for the gay rights movement to be where it's at today.
You're such a talented and gifted performer and actor. How different is drag from acting? Is drag just a deeper form of method acting, in your opinion? Drag is acting. If you're doing your job right you've created a character and a persona that is unique from your own. I think of drag less like stage acting and more like commedia dell'arte. You create a form to live in, a persona that has life and history of its own and you portray it for your audiences whether you're on stage or just walking around. If you're in costume and you are in drag, you're in character and that's the way I see it.
You describe yourself, Jerrick, as “kind of a goof, and a little bit of a dork,” and Jinkx is “the life of the party”. Where does the light switch flip for that transformation? For me the transformation isn't complete until every element is in place. It's not enough just to have the make up, the costume, the shoes, the wig on one at a time. They all have to be in place together for me to feel like Jinkx has come to life. The persona of Jinkx has evolved throughout the years, but when I look into the mirror and i see Jinkx looking back at me, that's when I fully snap into character and the rest is kind of out of my hands. It's all improv, it's all on the spot decision-making as my character. Jerick is definitely a dork, but Jinkx is the life of the party because Jinkx insists on being the life of the party. That's just who she is, she wants all eyes on her at all times.
As I mentioned, you'll be performing here in Tampa at Hamburger Mary's on May 19th, and I can't tell you how excited we are to have you. What should we be expecting from Jinkxalicous? When you come to one of my shows, come with an open mind and be ready to experience whatever might happen that night. I take my job as a performer extremely seriously, and I spend all day trying to concoct the perfect show for that specific audience. I never know what I'm going to do until that day because I really want the inspiration to hit me, but what you can be assured is it will be a top notch performance from a passionate performer.
If Little Edie (Grey Gardens) and Jinkx's namesake Eddie Monsoon (Absolutely Fabulous) came backstage after one of your drag shows, what do you think their reactions would be? I hope that little Edie would feel honored by my tribute to her and I hope Edina Monsoon would try to hire me to be her body double for special appearances. Basically I hope they would save my homage to them as a portrayal of my absolute love for who they are and not take any offense to any of it. Or if they did take offense to it I hope that we could laugh our way through it without a lawsuit. Ha ha! RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 Winner, Jinkx Monsoon performs at Hamburger Marys in Ybor, Sun., May 19. No cover, reservations strongly recommended, call 813 241 6279 for availability.
Reporting from Parts Unknown, WLJI News 64's Jerry Jumpheimer:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are coming to you live here, from wherever we are, where in just a few brief moments, we will be conducting a live, face to face interview with that plucky adventurer extraordinaire, emo_snal Yes, that's right, that will be coming up, in just a few short moments. First though we will be talking to some of the locals here, men and woman who know of this hero's exploits. With me now is Ms. Jane January. Ms. January, can you tell us a little bit about how you know emo_snal?
Know him? Know him? Young man, I don't know him. No one really knows him. We all just know of him. He's lead quite the life you know. Take, for instance the time he saved that girl from hurling herself into that volcano. That was no feat worth forgetting, I assure you.
And Ms. January, why did he do that?
Who knows? Who really knows? But there has not been another sacrifice on this island since then, nor has the mighty volcano wiped us out. We give all the credit to emo_snal for that.
For quelling the volcano?
In just a few short moments, ladies and gentlemen, as I've said, the one and only emo_snal will join us. Now though, let's talk to another local witness. This is Mr. Frederico Falconhead. Mr. Falconhead, tell us about Emo_Snal.
Him? Oh, what a legend he is in these parts. Did you know he's a beekeeper? A beekeeper of all things? All of the bees almost vanished not long ago, but Emo_snal has been, well, keeping the bees here on the island. It's incredible.
So what you're saying is that Emo_snal, is a world-renowned beekeeper?
Yes, yes I am.
Coming up next...
Did you also know, that he spent many a time, living and working on a ship?
No, I did not.
Yes, Emo_snal worked on a large, sailing vessel here. His story was documented for many months, and though we did not see him here on the island, we heard of his day to day from his journal. It was really quite compelling!
Emo_snal is compelling then. That's what you'd say?
Excellent. Now then...
Also, he is a top notch professional wrestler!
Indeed! Trained by the legendary lucahdors in Mexico in his youth, Emo_snal has been a tremendous champion on every continent that exists. And even some that don't.
He's really quite the fellow, isn't he?
That's what I'm telling you!
Ok, thank you Mr. Falconhead.
Yes, I just did. Ok, coming up, very soon, our exclusive, one on one with this legend, Emo_snal. BUT FIRST. Let me introduce you to another local, Mrs. Verdana Timesnewroman, a local newspaper reporter. What say you of Emo_snal?
He stole my baby.
Stole my baby.
Oh my goodness. Can you tell us more about that?
Well, I never really had a baby. But Mr. Snal never met me, nor ever gave me one. So in theory, he stole my baby.
Oh, ok. Thank you for that ace reporting. Coming up, one on one, with baby theft advocate, Emo_snal. What's that? Ok, we're just receiving word now. Emo_snal is not here? Ok, bear with me. We're just receiving word that Emo_snal is off on another adventure. I'm not certain what he's doing, only that I know it will be worth reading, watching, writing about. Is he in fact, on the moon? Perhaps he has re-discovered the last city of Atlantis? I'm not sure. What I do know is that it will be fascinating, and we'll get a read on it, just before he sets off on another adventure.
This has been Jerry Jumpheimer for WLJI News 64
Can I say hi to my mother?
No Mr. Falconhead. No you may not.
There was a time when a young boy would ditch his mother while grocery shopping to read the comic books near the magazine rack. There were untold number of worlds waiting for vivid imaginations right on Aisle 4. Our world evolves though, and over the years, the comic book industry has traveled a shakier trajectory than baby Kal-El's journey from Krypton to Earth. Slumping sales could have spelled Doomsday to our costumed-icons, but our heroes are not throwing in the cape just yet.
The 12th Annual Free Comic Book Day swings into action Saturday, May 4th providing 4.5 million copies of one of a kind comics to 2000 comic retailers in 60 countries. “FCBD is really a worldwide open house to get more people interested in comics. Given that many of the top movies, TV shows and video games have their origins in comics, we're trying to invite more people to the fun we have in comic shops every week,” says FCBD founder Joe Field. This year there are 12 “Gold Level” Special Edition comics that all of the retailers will carry including the debut of DC Comic's new Superman series Superman Unchained by superstar artist Jim Lee. Marvel Comics will debut its new Infinity series as well, and Image Comics will feature a new Walking Dead story that is certain to race to Ebay faster than The Flash.
There are also 40 other optional titles that will vary depending on the store, as each retailer makes the event something special. Yancy St. Comics in Port Richey has assembled an Avengers-like ensemble of famous comic writers and artists for their part in the celebration. Among the legendary talent who will be on hand is long-time Batman writer Chuck Dixon (Vengeance of Bane) who appreciates the value of Free Comic Book Day: “I get to meet the fans and a lot of non-fans checking out the comic shop for the first time. I think the biggest contribution that FCBD makes is as an introduction for kids to the world of comics. A lot of a time these giveaway books are a child's first exposure to the medium. I mean, it's hard to argue with the price, right?” Other participating stores include Green Shift, Demolition Comics, Heroes Haven, Thunder Road, Read More Comics in Brandon and Emerald City in Pinellas. To find all participating local retailers, visit the Free Comic Book Day website.
(Text and interviews provided by Brian Frederick)
Like a burro in a burrito.
I don't think it's fair to call me a bad story-teller simply because I tell a story about a competition involving a bunch of clowns and don't know the winner, or most any of the details. Or if there were any rubber chickens harmed in the telling of it. You have to understand, circus life isn't all high-wire hysterics and talking lions. Though, he is pretty insightful, that lion. Did you know that many lions don't even bother talking? Guess that makes me pretty lucky, but still, I can't be expected to remember things. They don't have me in the mind-reader's tent, ya know. “Come one, come all to see the Amazing, Mystical, Billy Wylde. He can't tell you your fortune, but he can sell you expired corndogs.”
No one ever said that.
Still, this clown thing was a pretty big deal here at the Lloyd Jangles Inventive Circus. After Old Man Jangles bit the big one, and went to the big cotton candy machine in the sky, we got a new boss, and he's been something else. GD Gary we call him, but I don't know what the GD stands for. I could guess, I suppose. And GD Gary's got a budget to keep if he's going to keep this ragtag group of circus freaks and talking animals on the road. I don't get paid bupkis, though he did recently offer me double bupkis, but I don't think he was serious. So GD Gary's not getting rid of Billy, but he's had his eye on the clowns.
“Too many clowns spoil the broth,” he said, making no sense at all.
So for the last however many weeks we've had circus freak Olympic games to get rid of a bunch of excess clowns and things got super hairy when we got down to four. No, really, all the clowns had to shave off excess body hair. Not a pretty picture.
Goose Droppings. That'd be a guess what the GD stands for. I doubt it though.
Four clowns, and I gotta tell ya, four really talented clowns going head to head. Clown nose to honking clown nose.
There's Milk Bottle, who's probably one of the most popular in the bunch. Gotta love her. She really gets to the heart of clowning. She can make you laugh, or cry. Gives a real heartfelt performance. Most clowns just pile out of tiny cars, or fart without whoopee cushions. Milk Bottle's got the real deal talent though. One of a kind. She could have won the whole thing based on how much heart she has.
You can't forget Zeppy either though. Zeppy's a really interesting case, let me tell you. Plenty of history with this one. She's got these stories, oh the stories. You don't realize just how far deep you're into them until you forget which day of the week it is, which isn't hard for me. Lots of great information from this one when she stands on the stage and spins a tale. No, really, spins it right 'round. It's all so mystifying, and you learn stuff and end up in a different world. Sometimes when that happens I forget to come back. She could have won the whole thing just because she does things to your mind that many other clowns don't. And I'm usually never down for brain molestation, but it's all cool with Zeppy.
Garlic Drizzle could be what GD stands for. He does have some interesting breath.
Then we have the boys, err, men of the clown bunch. The Talon really never meant to be a clown here at the circus, but we didn't know what else to do with him. He's got this great trick that he does with these knife-claw type things, but can still make a majestic balloon animal. The thing with The Talon is his mastery of technique. Each and every moment of his performance is so precise. Technically, there's not likely a better clown out there today. And there's lots of clowns out there, wherever there is. The Talon is a class act too. Got it all down pat, he does. He could win just 'cuz he's so good.
The Poet on the other hand, left or right, I'm not sure, he's unique. He's kind of new to clowning I think, because he kind of just improvises as he goes. The thing is, he's people -phobic, which is really unlucky for him, because, well, he's a people. How do you deal with your own kind when you can't deal with your own kind? So I give him credit just for showing up. His act is a lot of fun, and sometimes it's deeply tragic, which makes you relate to a man in clown makeup. Didn't see that coming did ya? Other times he makes you think about things you didn't realize you ought to be thinking about as he does his simple little card tricks. I've never seen anything like him, and he's probably the underdog too, but he keeps showing up, and stays true to the type of clown he is. He totally could win the whole thing and keep the clown job because he's so true to himself, even when he's making stuff up.
Good Duck? That's likely it.
I wish I knew who won the great clown competition, but I hijacked the clown car with the talking lion to go on a double date in Topeka. Those things sure are roomy! Guess I'll have to wait till we get back, but either way, we're going to have a top quality clown doing his or her clown thing at the Lloyd Jangles Inventive Circus. If we ever make it back that is.